The Old Course at Ballyliffin is one of the gems of the North WestNorth & West Coast Links Golf has been voted “European Golf Destination of the Year 2011” by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

Over 1,200 industry professionals from 60 countries attended the annual awards ceremony in Valencia on Thursday to recognise and reward the exceptional contributions to the world of golf travel, voted for by IAGTO operators and the IGTWA’s golf travel writers.

A total of 350 international golf tour operators from 52 countries across the world voted and initially selected 20 European golfing regions before whittling down the competition to just six finalists.

North & West Links Golf (N&WCL) beat off competition from Fife in Scotland (which includes the world famous Old Course at St. Andrews), the Czech Republic, Tenerife, Murcia in Spain and Lisbon in Portugal.

Over the past few years the world’s most high profile destinations have won the coveted title including Provence & Cote D’Azur, the Algarve, Andalucia and Turkey.

John McLaughlin, General Manager of North & West Coast Links Golf, said: “Needless to say we are thrilled to be nominated for such a prestigious award, as it gives the links the recognition they deserve amongst its global counterparts.

“The region has injected significant investment over the last 10 years to bring their golf product up to the standards expected from today’s golfer and despite stiff competition we now have our sights firmly set on the title of European Golf Destination of the Year 2011”

Established as a small marketing cooperative over 20 years ago, N&WCL has grown from just four clubs to 12 of the finest courses in Ireland, Ardglass Golf Club, Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portstewart Golf Club, Ballyliffin Golf Club, Portsalon Golf Club, Rosapenna Golf Links, Narin & Portnoo Golf Club, Donegal Golf Club, Co. Sligo Golf Club, Enniscrone Golf Club, Carne Golf Links, & Connemara Championship Links.

With over one third of the world’s links courses in Ireland and with 12 in North & West Coast Links, golf holiday packages with IATGO are worth an estimated €1 billion annually and so far this year bookings at N&WCL have been up 40% for 2010 compared to 2009, ensuring a major golf tourism spend in the region.

Boasting a world class links product, it’s no surprise a selection of the world’s top golfers have visited the area, such as Rory Mcllroy in his early years winning back to back West of Ireland Championships at Co. Sligo Golf Club, Tom Watson dropping in for a leisurely game with friends at Connemara, or major champion Graeme McDowell coming home to Royal Portrush.

Visit or Call +353 (0)91 868642 for further details on the North & West Coast Links. To view imagery of the 12 links courses log onto